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New EPA rules regarding CO2 emissions

World Cement,

New US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding carbon dioxide emissions from power plants have been authorised by President Obama, according to the representative authority for America's cement manufacturers, Portland Cement Association (PCA).

Unlike other emissions that have been successfully regulated by the EPA, CO2 was not considered an air pollutant in the Clean Air Act. However, the broad language used within the Clean Air Act has allowed the EPA to seek a means of controlling industrial CO2 emissions since it is associated with contributing to global warming.

Increasing the cost of electricity and of everything that is reliant on it

Industrial processes that are used to make electricity, cement and other essential materials have always produced CO2. Whilst industries have gradually reduced their emissions, the new EPA regulations are expected to be the first of a series of rules, implemented to regulate CO2 from core US industries, including cement.

To reduce CO2 emissions to the degree sought by the new EPA regulations, an industry must either remove CO2 from its existing process or shift to a different, less CO2-intensive process.

Fewer investments, construction projects and jobs

"These unprecedented regulations will have enormous impact," said James Toscas, President and CEO of the PCA. "Everybody, including EPA, agrees that they will boost the cost of electricity, which in turn will increase the cost of making and using nearly everything. Higher costs hurt every American's pocketbook, and mean fewer investments, fewer construction projects, and fewer jobs."

Advanced and expensive sequestration technology is required

In addition to the boost in the cost of electricity, isolating CO2 requires highly advanced and expensive sequestration technology whilst the use of a less carbon-intensive process requires investment in new plants, equipment, and technologies – some of which do not even exist today.

The cement industry takes environmental protection seriously, and has made significant progress in reducing the energy uses and associated CO2 emissions through refinements in plant operations and technology.

"Making substantial reductions to CO2 emissions from our core industries will demand a tremendous amount of time, talent, money, and technology," Toscas added, whilst also highlighting: “Whatever impacts cement production impacts the entire economy."

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